A new music-themed café/bar named Whole Latte Love opens tomorrow on Bridge Street in Stockton which aims to cater, predominantly, for local musicians and boost the live music scene.
Owner, Andy Brewster, is set to host regular live music events and open mic nights, provide performance/exhibition space for local artists, and also offer a rehearsal space for musicians throughout the day.
Andy’s reasoning behind designing a café/bar for local music largely stems from his own experience as a travelling musician:
“I’ve been involved in the music scene for about thirty years now, and as a travelling I.T. Consultant for the last sixteen years, I’ve travelled up and down the country – so, naturally, I’ve taken my guitar and played in a wide variety of venues. Everywhere you go, you see places that attempt to be a music venue, but what we need is a fixed place with a varied range of live music and a varied audience to cover all genres during the week,” noted Andy.
Whole Latte Love will be a music café during the day, serving food and drinks while also giving upcoming, younger musicians who aren’t allowed to play in pubs and bars due to age restrictions a chance to perform and develop their stage craft.
Although Stockton already has a number of cafés, Whole Latte Love distinguishes itself by providing more – later opening times (11am – 11pm), a performance stage for artists looking to gain an audience, and rehearsal space, which gives even more opportunity to aspiring artists.
“There are other rehearsal spaces available, but with us you can at least come downstairs to have a drink and a panini and chips or a toastie so you don’t have to dash in and out.”
The café/bar environment has been designed completely with local musicians, artists, photographers, and poets in mind – packaging together various elements of life as local performers and artist and bringing them together under one roof.
“I’ve adjusted through several different careers, but I’ve always had music to fall back on, so I think everybody else should have the same opportunity. I also co-host Thursday’s open mic night in Storytellers in Stockton for Jimmy Beck, and alongside ex Young Rebel Set frontman Matthew Wilde, and it gives me the opportunity to keep in touch with local artists.
“There have been some fantastic people coming through the door at open mic nights over the last few years, so I’m hoping to transfer some of the talent here, but obviously hosting ours on a different night.”
As well as live entertainment, Whole Latte Love will also feature a rolling exhibition of photographs and artwork by local photographers starting with Ian Allcock, who specialises in capturing the essence of live music performances, and Wayne Calvert – a well-known local landscape photographer.
“Ian has a real eye for capturing action shots of live performances and audiences, and Wayne has had several of his landscape photographs published by the local press, so there’s a quieter “exhibition room” where you can have a chat and a coffee or read a book – and you’ll be looking at local artists’ work. We may also host some poetry readings (I’m a big fan of local poets Douglas Verrill and Chris Stewart), or a folk night or Jazz session – there are lots of possibilities.”
Despite the fact that numerous things are already happening at Whole Latte Love, Andy also has plans for further expansion in the future. A gin and whiskey lounge is planned for the second year, which will have a private club atmosphere, offering a different experience to the other rooms.
Whole Latte Love opens tomorrow on Bridge Street in Stockton. For further information, head to http://www.facebook.com/whole-latte-love-cafe-bar/.